On his impressions on his first visit to a Formula 1 paddock and race:
I have attended Formula 1 races previously, but as a fan - in South Africa and here as well, because I was based in Japan for some time. This is my first time to kind of see it from the engine room, so to speak. I have become unfortunately somewhat disconnected from Formula 1; living in the U.S. for so many years, it's not an easy sport to follow. And as a consequence it's really great to get back in and see
On how he plans to improve sales and expand Infiniti globally:
For me, having just joined the company, I want to really validate my own perceptions of the business and appropriate strategy for the future. As an insider now, I have arrived with my outsider opinion. But one thing that is a cornerstone of my philosophy is that we are wanting to take Infiniti and unlock its potential to really be one of the premier high-end brands in the automotive sector. To build and develop and expand the brand in that fashion is a long-term venture. Sales volumes, of course, always remain important. But it's not the most important thing in building a brand. We are building a brand, and if we get that, plus all the building blocks in place, the sales volumes eventually will follow.
Obviously, I have been the fortunate recipient of the good efforts of my colleagues who initiated this before I joined. And this being my first opportunity to experience what the team is doing and how the team works is also an important part for me to understand what this can do for Infiniti. And based on this and the further discussions we have, we obviously need to consider what role Formula One can play in terms of our long-term planning, and that is part of why I am here.
On if it is true that Infiniti is aiming for 10 percent of the luxury-car market:
That, I think, is a feasible long-term aim, and I'll be candid: There are three premium automotive brands that dominate the sector, and Infiniti plans to be a fourth. To have significant enough presence to make a difference and be recognized as a major player, 10 percent begins to be the critical mass point.
On his experience with Audi with Super Bowl commercials and with Le Mans 24 Hours and how he sees Formula 1 fitting in by comparison:
Firstly, the comment about my previous life was simply that at that stage the brand was struggling in the U.S. and needed to create a platform. A lot of people had reservations about getting involved in those areas for a relatively small brand. But I see much the same is happening here. Formula One is an outstanding platform to convey the high performance character of the brand. We are, after all, also an automotive company, so it is also an opportunity to display your technology credentials and this is one of the things that I would be wanting to expand into the future.
On if Infiniti's move to Hong Kong is a way to be seen as independent of Nissan, or is it a way into China:
A bit of both. First and foremost, if Infiniti now has been empowered to really begin to tackle the global premium market on a full-time basis instead of a part-time basis, with dedicated resources, dedicated people, dedicated organization, an important part of that also is to develop an organization that reflects the premium brand philosophy. So it is also symbolically to say to the organization, 'This is a new company now; it's a new team, new organization, new mind-set, new philosophy, new processes, new way of approaching the business.' And then, because China is our next important growth area, Hong Kong is an excellent gateway to China. And we are pretty proud of the fact now that we are Hong Kong's only hometown car company and part of the Chinese mainland and that we want to begin to be more part of that world.